In 2022, we spent at least one night every month at our little cottage in the woods -- except for January and February. So for 2023, we set a goal to be able to stay at least one night during those winter months as well. This is quite a challenge considering the fact that our camp is not winterized.
All of the interior photos in this post were taken with my tablet in the main, living/dining room on an early morning in mid-January. In the photo below, directly below where the oar is hanging, the expanse of wood is one of the large shutters that cover the huge screened windows. These shutters are held up by hooks to the rafters in warmer weather. But during the off-season we enjoy looking at the art we have hung on some of them. You can also see that we brought in our "Lakeview Lodge" sign
for the winter and it is hanging from the rafters.
My hubby has insulated the walls in the living room and loft, but the walls in the other two rooms have no insulation (and it would be a difficult task to add any) and none of the floors are insulated.
However, due to some warmer than usual temperatures in January, plenty of dry firewood, and some good old Yankee ingenuity on my husband's part, we were able to stay several nights last month.
The middle room (where the sleeping nook and bathroom are located) can be kept warm, since that's also where the wood stove is. Enough heat filters into the kitchen from there so that we can prepare a quick meal or wash a few dishes. (At night, while we're sleeping, we curtain off the kitchen to keep the heat in the room where we are.). That would be Yankee ingenuity hack #1 -- there's no door between the two, so we put up a tension rod and at night we clip a quilt to the rod.
In the evenings before bed, though, we like to have the big living/dining area warm enough that we can eat supper and relax there. We have a couple of electric heaters that we can use in there, but my hubby figured out something that works even better: Yankee ingenuity hack #2. He took a fan --- just a plain, ordinary metal fan -- and placed it on top of the wood stove so that it blows warm air through the doorway into the big room. It makes things so comfortable in there throughout the evening! When we're ready for bed, we just unplug the fan and close the door to the big room.
I mentioned earlier that all the floors are uninsulated (though some of them will eventually be insulated, they are not at this time). The floor in the large room is mostly covered by a woven vintage rug, so that helps a lot. The floor in the bedroom/bathroom area, however, becomes downright chilly in the middle of the night. Which brings me to Yankee ingenuity hack #3: We had a large, very thick "bath sheet" that I bought by mistake on clearance some years ago. We just lay that down on the floor before bed on top of the throw rugs and it does the trick. It's easily taken up in the morning. We shake it out, fold it and stash it out of sight until the next time. It's easily washed when needed.
Below a couple more photos from the living/dining area:
Another of the large shutters with artwork displayed on it. When the shutters are up, the framed pieces stay safely in place.
For Christmas I had this simple runner on the table (it's actually still in place) with a sweet wintry candle holder atop it.
I mentioned in my Hodgepodge post how we plan for spontaneous winter evenings at the camp by being prepared. The two basic things we need other than PJs and such are water and coffee. We have a supply of K-cups at the camp. We keep our camp Keurig (which would freeze internally if we left it there) in a box ready to transport, and another box containing our jug for drinking water. My hubby watches the weather forecasts like a hawk, keeping an eye open for warm winter days (40s or above) and warmish nights. When a likely night shows up, we just add water to the jug, grab the Keurig box and our duffel bag with clothing, toothbrushes, etc. and are ready to go.
We also try to keep a good amount of dry firewood and kindling under cover on the camp porch, ready for starting a fire in the wood stove. When it's possible, my hubby will go over to the camp in the afternoon of a night when we plan to stay, and start a fire to warm things up. It gets very cold in there as one would expect of an unheated seasonal place. If we can take the chill off first it really helps.
Oh, speaking of coffee, which I was a paragraph or two ago -- I almost forgot about Yankee ingenuity hack #4. You might guess (and you'd be right) that kitchen cabinets in an unheated building would be very, very cold in winter. And everything contained in them is also cold. Probably even cold enough to break if hot liquid was poured into it. So, the night before, we take two coffee mugs out of the cabinet and place them on a handy shelf not far from the wood stove. By the time we're ready for coffee in the morning, our mugs are preheated and ready to use.
We're hoping to stay over again either this week or next, as there are some warm days and nights in the forecast. If we can stay even one night in February, we'll meet our goal to stay over at camp every month of the year!